Need some inspiration as you and your tarot deck plan your future?
Check out these visionary offerings by queer and trans people of color. They just might change your life.
* We focus on print books written and/or edited entirely or partly by queer and trans people of color
* We love us some Audre Lorde but we looked for books published in the last few years
* Also we love all the QTPOC books. But for this list, we tried to focus on books that combine ancestral wisdom with emerging universes of thinking and open possibilities for building new worlds, especially centering trans women of color, femmes, disabled and chronically ill folks, and others often left out of LGBTQ spaces.
You know we missed some great books. Is one of your faves missing from the list? Email us; we just might add it to the list!
QTPOC polyamory + magical realism + a political backdrop we can’t tell you about cuz #spoilers.
Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion
Edited by Ryan Conrad
Ok not all QTPOC. But a whole bunch of the contributors are QTPOC, and their essays are ON FIRE. Also check out Against Equality’s other books.
Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender
Black Girl Dangerous founder Mia McKenzie puts some of her best posts into this Best Of collection. It’s rlygood.
Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (2nd edition)
Edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh: The second edition has new stuff by CeCe McDonald, Chelsea Manning, Janetta Johnson & Toshio Meronek, Kalaniopua Young, plus tons of amazingness from the first edition.
Decolonize Your Diet: Mexican-American Plant-Based Recipes for Health and Healing
Luz Calvo & Catriona R. Esquibel
Decolonize the food, decolonize the world. Come get nourished w/ QTPOC brilliance.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
We are unapologetically biased that one of the people who helped launch Peacock wrote one of the best books of 2015. A mixed-race working-class brown queer crip survivor femme witch slap (and tickle) to all those dull drab quirky-rich-white-girl-coming-of-age books, this book will be on the holographic altars of QTPOC in the year 3000. Check it out.
Falling in Love with Hominids
“[P]resents more than a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print, including one original story. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Caribbean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.”
Kindling: Writings on the Body
Aurora Levins Morales
“[A] collage of prose poetry, poems, essays, performance pieces and memoir, exploring the rich complexity of living in a physical and social body[,] from 19th century bomba dancers to the environmental causes of epilepsy, from eugenics to the Cuban health care system, from the sexuality of the chronically sick and tired, to a broader interpretation of taking back the night…”
We’re pretty sure this book is witchcraft. Receive the magic.
Make Love to Rage
Morgan Robyn Collado
A “devastatingly femme book of poetry.”
“[A] cleansing and transformative journey that takes us from rage to love with a depth of emotion and beauty in words that is breathtaking. The first part, ‘Rage,’ communicates the rage and anger caused by injustice, in immediate and visceral ways. The transition into ‘Making’ has all the mess and beauty inherent in the seasons of autumn and spring. After the rage, after the making, we have ‘Love.’ And the sweetness, caring, and compassion of these poems is a soothing balm after the rage. Yet, it also underscores that deep love, more than anything, fuels rage over injustice.”
Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements
Edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown
“Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction….Organizers and activists dedicate their lives to creating and envisioning another world, or many other worlds—so what better venue for organizers to explore their work than science fiction stories?”
Boom. Read this anthology now. And kiss it, lick it, tug it, bite it, give it our number.
Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism
Edited by Uriel Quesada, Letitia Gomez, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz
“Histories of LGBT activism in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s often reduce the role that Latinas/os played, resulting in misinformation, or ignore their work entirely, erasing them from history.
Queer Brown Voices is the first book published to counter this trend, documenting the efforts of some of these LGBT Latina/o activists. Comprising essays and oral history interviews that present the experiences of fourteen activists across the United States and in Puerto Rico, the book offers a new perspective on the history of LGBT mobilization and activism. The activists discuss subjects that shed light not only on the organizations they helped to create and operate, but also on their broad-ranging experiences of being racialized and discriminated against, fighting for access to health care during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and struggling for awareness.”
Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature
Edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, and Scott Lauria Morgensen
We were focusing on newer books for this list, but way too many people slept on this book instead of sleeping with it under their pillow when it first came out.
“Rooted in the Indigenous Americas and the Pacific, and drawing on disciplines ranging from literature to anthropology, contributors to Queer Indigenous Studies call Indigenous GLBTQ2 movements and allies to center an analysis that critiques the relationship between colonialism and heteropatriarchy.”
Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives
Interviews by Nia King, edited by Terra Mikalson and Jessica Glennon-Zukoff
For Nia King’s podcast We Want the Airwaves, she interviews a ton of QTPOC artists about the actually-for-real struggles of the QTPOC art life hustle, how to survive, and what to do next. The first volume features interviews ranging from Janet Mock to people you don’t know yet but should.
Get copies to all your broke QTPOC friends and everyone who asked them to share their art work for free “for exposure.”
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
We low-key plan to ask Janet to be our mom. Also, when we rolled out our Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy Storytelling program, Janet freaking took time out of her busy fancy world to email us some love!!! Talk about realness. Also her memoir will really change your life.
The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities
Edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Another book from 2011 that we included cuz it’s epic and we haven’t seen anything like it since and it’s still super relevant.
The Transreal: Politics Aesthetics of Crossing Realities
“To say that I am transreal is a strategy for embracing a gender that exceeds daily reality on Planet Earth and that says back to all the people who have tried to make me choose between man or woman that I choose to be a shape-shifter, a dragon and a light wave.”
And a Peacock, which isn’t why we picked this book. A reviewer explains it well:
“[C]hallenge[s] notions of what’s real (or may be real) and what constitutes reality(-ies)… [O]ffers ways of reexamining the body, how / where it exists (if at all) and its ability to trans between and through realities, ‘real,’ transreal, imagined, other.”
Ok this book costs like a million dollars cuz it’s out of print, but she’s working on a new edition! Her debut book is a memoir documenting the struggles of being a trans girl of color survivor of rape and abuse. Poems, prose, story-telling, brilliance.
Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul
“[M]y first book entirely dedicated toward poetry and the life of being basically a queer poet trying to find a reason to go on.” This elder/ teacher / martial artist’s newest work brings grief, snark and heartbreak to a whole other level.
Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices
Edited by Helen Klonaris and Amir Rabiyah
“[A] multi-genre gathering of US and international voices in an effort to generate a cross cultural and nuanced dialogue that…examines the power of walls to divide [and] walls as sites of resistance, (re)connection, and community.”
Oh shit! Yes.